IntersectionalityReligion Can We Stop Stereotyping Muslim Women As Hapless Beings?

Can We Stop Stereotyping Muslim Women As Hapless Beings?

This oppressed typecasting of Muslim women, as the rest of society has made it out to be and accordingly judged us, can be repudiated.

Posted by Zainab Minhaj

“When she is a daughter: she opens a door of Jannat (Paradise) for her father; when she is a wife: she completes half of the Deen (Religion) of her husband and when she is a mother: Jannat lies under her feet” (As mentioned in the Hadiths by Prophet Muhammad – Sahih Al Bukhari). If everyone knew the true status of Muslim women in Islam, even the men would want to be women.

But I feel immensely dejected regarding the ideologies that are been induced in the minds of people with respect to women in Islam. They are being misinterpreted as “hapless beings” or under all sort of restrictions imposed upon them.

It is also believed that Muslim women couldn’t get ahead of men in any way, be it employment, education or in matters of leadership. That they are under strict bindings or that they feel oppressed while following the regulations allegedly forced upon them by Islam.

Yet, the irony is that it is proclaimed that women in Islam have been placed very significantly, moreover with great esteem. The status of Muslim women has been raised from below the earth to such heights, where it is said that Paradise lies at her feet.

The granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad, Hadhrat Zainab led a battalion of women fighters during a war.

If we peep into the history of Islam, there are innumerable examples and inspirational accounts of women who were scholars, warriors, nurses, businesswomen, teachers and also students at the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Hadhrat Fatimah (PBUH), the youngest daughter of Prophet Muhammad, played the role of a teacher in spreading the word of Islam.

The granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad, Hadhrat Zainab (PBUH), used to provide nursing to wounded people in the battlefield. She also led a battalion of women fighters during a war. Prophet Muhammad’s wife Hadhrat Khadija (PBUH) was a businesswoman and Hadhrat Ayesha (PBUH), also one of the wives of Prophet Muhammad, was a renowned woman scholar of that time.

No spiritual superiority exists in the male or female role in Islam. Men and women are complementary to one another and should not be defined in relation to one another, except by their piety and deeds.

Keeping in mind all of the above points dispensed with their clarifications, the first and foremost question that is conjured in my mind: why do such unhealthy or unfounded stereotypes exist regarding Muslim women? What makes people even surmise that women in Islam are “hapless beings”? Just because they cover themselves with the hijab and veil?

Also Read: Reading Feminism and Islam: A Starter Pack

Well, the hijab is the only facet which is said to separate Muslim women from the rest of humanity. The most significant reason Muslim women wear the hijab is to please the Almighty out of their own will and sincerity. They cover themselves to be recognized as believers of the Almighty.

Allah the Exalted has mentioned in the Holy Quran that women must guard their modesty. There are several chapters in the Quran, namely Surah An Nisa and Surah Al Maryam that Muslim women must follow in order to live an ideal Islamic life. She wishes that no man should see her beauty as it is only for her husband, “her man” and not for the rest of mankind. If a woman is free to expose her body then why should she not be free to cover it?

Even if a woman is not observing hijab, it is considered to be written in her book of deeds and she will be judged accordingly by Allah on the Day of Judgement. This is not for anyone else to judge. As The Prophet said that, “Whenever you point a finger towards anyone remember the rest of your three fingers are pointing towards you” (Sahih Al Bukhari). No one on earth has any right to engage in character assassination or say anything which could cast aspersions on a woman’s personality in Islam.

No spiritual superiority exists in the male or female role in Islam.

Some Muslim men endeavour to manipulate the laws of religion according to their will which undisputedly goes against the original laws of Islam. Muslim men take due advantage by marrying four women or giving Talaq (Divorce) due to insignificant reasons. But there are a number of conditions in the Holy Quran and Hadiths regarding marriages and separations that a man needs to follow before doing so.

But unfortunately, men don’t follow those rules. Due to facets of patriarchal dominance, I personally contemplate that the knots are getting more and more entangled in the minds of people regarding Islamic laws for men as well as women and hence this stereotypical outlook. Unfortunately, this makes the ambience more catastrophic for Muslim women.

The Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Take my advice with regard to women, act kindly towards women, for they were created from a rib, and the most crooked part of the rib is it’s uppermost. If you (Men) attempt to straighten it; you will break it, and if you leave it alone it will remain crooked; so act kindly towards women” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

This oppressed typecasting of Muslim women, as the rest of society has made it out to be and accordingly judged us, can be repudiated. Islam does not state that Muslim women are hapless, and we don’t consider ourselves to be oppressed by our religion either.

Also Read: Female Sexuality And Islam – A Think Piece

Zainab is a student of International Journalism at MGM College Aurangabad. Not yet a professional writer, her writing intentions are never to hurt anyone, however, it might just touch hearts gently. She writes out of self-interest and also to serve humanity with some good reads!

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